Gary Long


Behavioral hospital has hotline, offers help with COVID-19 anxiety

The Lower Rio Grande Valley’s primary behavioral health provider has a crisis hotline to help people deal with the stress and anxiety caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak. The crisis line, (956) 365-2600, is available around the clock through Palms Behavioral Health, a 94-bed inpatient psychiatric hospital in Harlingen. Free assessments and inpatient and outpatient services for adolescents, adults and seniors are offered. “We can answer questions about mental health issues related to the COVID-19 outbreak and are happy to do so,” clinical director David Estringel said Wednesday via email. “Our services are so important during this very anxiety-provoking situation and we want to ensure our community that they can turn to us for help.” Read the full story at

Historian to recount Brownsville Jockey’s 50-year career in book

An internet search helped architect, artist and sports historian/memorabilia collector Manuel Hinojosa discover Hall of Fame jockey Herberto “Herbie” Hinojosa, a Brownsville native who rode in the Belmont and Preakness stakes and whose mounts earned nearly $18 million in a career spanning 50 years. Herbie Hinojosa, who was 83, died in Brownsville in December. He started riding race horses at about age 8 at a ranch in El Ranchito near San Benito. Eventually he rode at all the best racetracks in the United States and Canada, Manuel Hinojosa said. Manuel Hinojosa is the Brownsville Independent School District architect and also a part owner of Doubleday Bar of Champions in Port Isabel, a sports bar where his extensive memorabilia collection and gallery of sports art drawn by him are on display. Read the full story at

BISD to name Castro’s replacement

The Brownsville Independent School District Board of Trustees will convene a special called board meeting on Friday to appoint a new board member to fill the vacancy created when former trustee Erasmo Castro resigned. Castro resigned “effectively immediately” in a letter to the district delivered Jan 10. At its Jan. 14 meeting the board accepted the resignation by unanimous vote. The appointment appears to be aimed at addressing concerns Castro could continue to serve in a “holdover” capacity until a successor is appointed or an election held for his former Place 2 seat on the board. Board attorney Baltazar Salazar said the person appointed Friday would serve until November, when an election would be held for the remaining two years of Castro’s term. The terms of board members Sylvia Atkinson, Philip Cowen, Minerva Peña and Laura Perez-Reyes are up for election in November and the remainder of Castro’s term would be added to the list. Read the full story at

Santa answers questions about the big job

Nevitt Ray Hargett never gets tired of being Santa Claus, a role he has played at malls from here to College Station since 2006 and is currently reprising at Sunrise Mall in Brownsville. “I’m telling you. I don’t need a million dollars to be happy,” Hargett said between visitors on a recent weekday afternoon in Brownsville. “Just seeing the smile on one child’s face and my day’s complete.” Hargett answered questions about the queries he gets from the children who sit on his lap. A big one was this: How do you visit all those houses? The answer was simple: “I have helpers.” Read the full story at

UTRGV police, partners conduct active-shooter drill

Shots rang out twice Wednesday morning on the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley campus here, sparking a coordinated response from the UTRGV Police Department and its law enforcement partners across the city. Only a few of the dozens of officers who converged on the student union and surrounding area just after 10 a.m. knew exactly the script that events would follow over the ensuing minutes, but everyone, including the students who volunteered, knew it was a Full Scale Emergency Preparedness Drill to test their readiness should the event have turned out to be real, UTRGV Police Chief Raul Munguia said afterward. Read the full story at

Three UTRGV students design winning holiday cards

Some holiday cards carry a little extra meaning during Christmas. In fact, for designing cards, three University of Texas Rio Grande Valley students in Brownsville won scholarships with cash awards in the 2019 University of Texas Rio Grande Valley President’s Holiday Card Contest. UTRGV President Guy Bailey presented the winners at a reception Thursday afternoon at the Student Union on the Brownsville campus. He delayed the presentation, waiting for UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken to arrive. Read the full story at

Students learn, earn on school’s beverage truck

By all accounts, Tuesday was a perfect day for hot chocolate. With temperatures hovering in the 40s the Falcon Express beverage truck was on hand at Los Fresnos High School selling the cold-weather favorite among its other offerings to students, faculty and staff before school and during lunch. New this year, the Falcon Express is paired with three Career and Technical Education courses for special education students that teach skills applicable to the food service industry. One aim is that after graduation they will be able to secure employment at restaurants and other food service industry businesses. Read the full story at

Dance enthusiast to open local Fred Astaire studio

Rebecca Rendon, who started the Red Hot ballroom dancing program that proved so successful for the Brownsville Independent School District, will open her own...

Trip to Galveston ends tragically for Brownsville family

Both parents in one Brownsville family and the father and two children in another died in a head-on crash over the weekend on Highway...

Into the wild

BROWNSVILLE — Four barn owls and four great horned owls returned to the wild, thanks to the efforts of veterinary staff at the Gladys...